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We got a Knight News Grant! We got a Knight News Grant!

I’m in Boston today with Deborah, Tom & Ben, where the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight News Challenge, has just announced that Stamen is one of the winners of this year’s Knight News Challenge grant. The grant is funding the development of City Tracking, which will present digital data about cities that journalists and the public can easily grasp and use, and provide tools to let them distribute their own conclusions.


You probably know that Stamen maintains an active independent research process, where we regularly commit time to developing self-funded and self-initiated projects like Crimespotting and Walking Papers and experiments at, often involving the visualization of digital civic data. We take it seriously enough that I like to say at presentations that I’m going to show some commercial projects and some research projects, and I hope that people won’t be able to tell the difference.

The thing is that while this work is vital to the studio, it by necessity has to take a back seat sometimes to the more commercially-oriented work that we do, if only in the sense that it sometimes gets delayed until we have some “free time.” The grant will allow us to allocate the same kind of time and effort to city-related visualization work as we do to our client work, and we’re hoping that it will lead to a substantial increase in the quality and quantity of this kind of work from the studio. We want to raise the bar on the role digital civic infrastructure plays in public dialogue around cities.

<hugs self and spins around in circles with happiness>

About the Knight News Challenge

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge is a 5-year, $25 million international contest to fund digital news experiments that use technology to inform specific geographic communities.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit

Published: 06.16.10
Updated: 09.20.22

About Stamen

Stamen is a globally recognized strategic design partner and one of the most established cartography and data visualization studios in the industry. For over two decades, Stamen has been helping industry giants, universities, and civic-minded organizations alike bring their ideas to life through designing and storytelling with data. We specialize in translating raw data into interactive visuals that inform, inspire and incite action. At the heart of this is our commitment to research and ensuring we understand the challenges we face. We embrace ambiguity, we thrive in data, and we exist to build tools that educate and inspire our audiences to act.